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Computation-Driven Mechanistic Understanding of the Cellular Cost and Role of Defensive Pigment Production in a Polyextremotolerant Fungus

27 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2020 Sneak Peek Status: Review Complete

See all articles by Wheaton L. Schroeder

Wheaton L. Schroeder

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Steven D. Harris

University of Manitoba - Department of Biological Sciences

Rajib Saha

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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Abstract

The polyextremotolerant black yeast Exophiala dermatitidis is a tractable model system for investigation of adaptations under extreme conditions. Foremost amongst these adaptations is production of the defensive pigments melanins and carotenoids. A particularly important question is their metabolic production cost. However, this investigation has been hindered by a relatively poor systems-level understanding of E. dermatitidis metabolism. To address this challenge, a genome-scale model (iEde2091) was developed. Using iEde2091, carotenoids were found to be more expensive to produce than melanins. Given their overlapping protective functions, this suggests that carotenoids have an underexplored yet important role of photo-protection under high-energy visible light. Furthermore, multiple defensive pigments with overlapping functions might allow E. dermatitidis to minimize cost. Because iEde2091 revealed that E. dermatitidis synthesizes the same melanins as humans and the active sites of the key tyrosinase enzyme are highly conserved, this model may enable a broader understanding of melanin production across kingdoms.

Keywords: Melanin, Carotenoid, Metabolism, Genome Scale Model, Exophiala dermatitidis, melanocyte, Fungi, mycology

Suggested Citation

Schroeder, Wheaton L. and Harris, Steven D. and Saha, Rajib, Computation-Driven Mechanistic Understanding of the Cellular Cost and Role of Defensive Pigment Production in a Polyextremotolerant Fungus. ISCIENCE-D-20-00104. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3528691 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3528691
This is a paper under consideration at Cell Press and has not been peer-reviewed.

Wheaton L. Schroeder

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering ( email )

United States

Steven D. Harris

University of Manitoba - Department of Biological Sciences

Canada

Rajib Saha (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering ( email )

United States

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